The Etch Moleskine Cover And Twist Precision Pen by Allegory

Disclaimer: I received these items from Allegory in exchange for my review. That didn’t influence my opinion of these products. Check for more information.

I’ve always been fascinated by things made by hand. I admire the craft and appreciate the effort put into creating them.

The art borne out of the palm’s creative touch echoes a form of poetry that is mute and solemn.

Such are the Etch leather cover and Twist pen made by Allegory.

Etch cover for moleskine cashier

If you are like me, you always keep a small journal notebook despite you having an always-connected smartphone. I have an HTC One that I use for communication and productivity. I use my pocket journal notebook to keep  track of thought and ideas that might  be useful now or in the future.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

I usually have a Moleskine Pocket Notebook. But it is not really pocket-sized in the truest sense. I cannot put it in my pant’s pocket without discomfort. Putting it in the back pocket is almost impossible. If I’m on the go, I would bring a Moleskine Cahier pocket notebook which I can just slide into my cargo short pocket.

Allegory Pens just came out with a slick kangaroo leather cover for the Moleskine Cahier notebook (3.5 x 5.5 inches) called “The Etch.” I didn’t know kangaroo leather makes a good material for notebook covers.

An expensive kangaroo leather cover for a simple notebook (Moleskine notebooks are expensive also) could be an overkill for some people. But there are other people who are just like you and me who put so much value into their old-school notebooks.

The Etch is made for people like you – yes, you the reader – and me.

Etch by Allegory

Here’s the comparison between the Moleskine Pocket Notebook (hard cover) and Moleskine Cahier with the Etch cover:

Etch Cover with Moleskine Cashier

The Etch cover has 2 card slots at the back:

Card Pockets in Etch Leather Cover

But I might give it a second thought if I really want to slide my debit and credit cards in there. Each slot can accommodate up to 3 plastic cards. There is nothing that secures the cards in place. I don’t recommend keeping your cards in those slots if you use it on daily basis.

Update 7/22/2013: I’ve been carrying my Etch for a month now, and the 2 “test cards” I put in the slots stayed there. The slots are deep enough to keep your ID or credit cards. After all, the Etch was designed as a back pocket notebook cover.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

If you use the side pocket in the Moleskine Cahier, you’re in luck because the cover design of the Etch allows access to the side pocket at the back of the cahier notebook:

Side Pocket Allegory Etch Cover

With the release of Etch comes also the new addition to Allegory Precision Pen Collection – The Twist:

Handcrafted Wood Pens

According to Allegory, these pens – The Twist – are “made from Beech reclaimed from shipping crates that were used to ship windmills from Europe.” So whenever you hold this pen in your hand, you’re not just holding a writing instrument but a piece of history. How cool is that!

The pen is a bit heavy to my liking because I’m used to pens that are made of plastic. The elegance of the polished wood and metal compensate for that.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

Don’t worry about running out of ink because this pen is refillable with standard ballpoint refills:

Refillable Allegory Handcrafted pens


Here’s a couple of close looks:

close look allegory pens pens made out of reclaimed wood


Here’s another look of the pen:

Another Look at Allegory Twist

Here’s how the pen and notebook look like together:

Allegory Pen and Leather collection

allegory Etch and reclaimed wood pen

If you are into notebooks and pens and love Kickstarter, Allegory has a Kickstarter campaign for the Etch cover and Twist pen. You may want to support them.

Kingston urDrive Infuses Your USB Drive With Life

USB Flash Drives have been the preferred portable storage device for many years. The latest storage technologies are making it possible to squeeze in more and more gigabytes of data in miniscule USB drives.

Then comes the Cloud.

With Cloud-based storage services gaining substantial traction, more and more people are moving their personal data into the cloud. Hence, we are seeing exodus from USB Drive to its Cloud counterpart.

Yes, your data in the Cloud defines more portability. USB is boring because it is basically a “passive storage”.

Kingston is changing that. urDrive makes your USB Flash Drive an active, engaging storage device. UrDrive is simply a file management application that does more than sorting your file according to type. The best thing is, urDrive is FREE.

Ur Drive Welcome

urDrive is preloaded software exclusively on select Kingston® DataTraveler® USB Flash drives.  After you launch the software, the urDrive interface pops up like a desktop for your USB.

urDrive Home

urDrive offers engaged, active storage that allows you to easily access and organize your files, photos, videos and music.

urDrive Files

urDrive features easy-to-use file management. File Management takes file and content organization to the next level, assists with file search, folder creation, renaming, sorting and capacity tracking.

urDrive Slideshow

Photo Viewer Simplifies browse and organize functions of stored photos. Its built-in slideshow tools lets you turn photos into stunning presentations to share with friends or family.

urDrive PC Checkup

Automatically scan and improve the performance of your computer with Norton™ PC Checkup. A free download is available.

urDrive Browser

With urDrive’s built in browser, you can take your favorites and bookmarks with you. Browse the Internet with urDrive from any public or private PC without leaving a trace.

urDrive Backup

Securely backup, access and share your files using urDrive. Not only can you store your files on urDrive, but your USB device also gives you access to a world of online storage.

urDrive Foozkids

Fooz Kids™for Kids by Moms. Foozkids® gives kids the freedom to discover the Internet in a secure and entertaining environment.

urDrive Games

With urDrive, you have access to casual, social and multiplayer games to play.

urDrive Store

Download applications through urDrive! Visit urDrive Store and access games, apps and more.


Disclaimer: I received a USB Flash Drive loaded with urDrive for this review.

Book Review: Ten Steps Ahead – What Separates Successful Business Visionaries From The Rest Of Us

This is a quick review of Erik Calonius‘ latest book, “Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us“. Erik Calonius is a former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and a writer for Fortune. He collaborated recently on the best-selling Predictably Irrational. His new book (Penguin Portfolio) is Ten Steps Ahead: What Separate Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us. His blog site is

Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of UsIn “Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us” Calonius lifts the lid on what makes visionaries succeed.

The book is extraordinary because it is based on the personal meetings that Calonius has had with some of the most famous visionaries of our time. For instance, Calonius not only meets Steve Jobs in the pages of the book, not only interviews him—but has Jobs take him to the garage in Los Altos California where Jobs and Steve Wozniak actually started Apple. “This is where I sat,” Calonius quotes Jobs saying. “and Woz’s place was over there.”

Other visionaries that Calonius speaks with include Andy Grove of Intel, Michael Dell, Palm Pilot inventor Jeff Hawkins, even Dave Thomas of Wendy’s and Berry Gordy Jr of Motown.

Buy the “Ten Steps Ahead” book now from Amazon! ]

Elements Of Vision

The Only Official/Authorized Biography of Steve JobsAccording to Calonius, “The human mind is built to be a predictive organ.” This is a common attribute of the human brain. There are only few who can predict what’s going to happen in the future. Of course we’re not talking here about a Nostradamus prediction. Steve Jobs carried Apple from near bankruptcy to what it is now – the Apple as we know it today. How did Jobs do this? Because he has it. These are few of the elements Calonius talks about in his book:

Awakening – This is common to all visionaries. They call this epiphany. “Aha”! “This is it”! Visionaries have their eureka moments.

Seeing – Visionaries are not necessarily inventors. They have this ability to see things before everybody else sees them. What sets them apart? They have the ability to discover things.

Intuition – Historical data cannot predict the future because “data explain only the past, not the future.” Visionaries have the audacity to decide on the merit of intuitive decision.

[ Buy the “Ten Steps Ahead” book now from Amazon! ]

We’re All The Same

In the end Calonius says that the elements of vision that have lifted the famous business visionaries into the ranks of legend are really accessible to all of us. As he notes, these icons don’t have a special substance between their ears; they’re no different from the rest of us. But what we can learn from them are lessons about intuition, emotional intelligence, imagining, courage, and even luck. In Ten Steps Ahead he discusses each of them, and shows us how we can sharpen those skills and use them in our own lives.

Buy the “Ten Steps Ahead” book now from Amazon! ]

Do you have what it takes to become a legend?

Book Review: Eat People – And Other Unapologetic Rules For Game-Changing Entrepreneurs

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
Follow me on twitter.

Free Radicals: Eat People and Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing EntrepreneursEat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs is written by Andy Kessler, the New York Times bestselling author  of “Wall Street Meat: My Narrow Escape from the Stock Market Grinder“and “Running Money“. He knows a lot about startups based on his experience from various jobs – stock analyst, investment banker, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager. “He’s heard hundreds of pitches from smooth talkers whose ventures quickly crashed and burned.”

There is a notion that this book is only for entrepreneurs or startups. Although the theme of the book is wrapped around entrepreneurship, it also addresses the need of those that are not in that bracket.

This book simply answers the question “What’s the next big thing?”. The “Unapologetic Rules” will walk you through the many elements of exactly finding that out.

How do you find the big thing? How do you find things that go up and to the right and keep going up and up and up? How do you find companies to work for or to invest in that will let you create some real wealth?

How wealth is created is not a question – Productivity creates wealth. The big question is what to do to attain the certain level of Productivity that creates wealth. This is where the controversy comes in. The message is staring us in the face. The author is simply acting as the messenger:

Get rid of humans and you probably found a rich vein of productivity and therefore wealth…That’s the goal of every economy – to increase the standard of living of its participants. If that means over a generation replacing low skill jobs with higher-skilled careers, then you are creating wealth for the entire economy.

As a mere employee (and not an entrepreneur), I find this book as a good guide to what to look out for in terms of  “career goals”. This book talks about “eating people” – job elimination. It illustrates in vivid fashion how and what jobs will be eliminated in the near future. Your clue are in the current trends in the technology today – processor chips with blazing speed, storage appliances becoming cheaper, consumer gadget becoming powerful, explosion of social networks, cloud computing, etc.

You have to figure out how to create the future yourself…figure out where productivity exists in the economy, and invest your mind or your money alongside it.

If you are an entrepreneur, startup, or business, it’s no longer enough to have your focus on your ability to scale. Your values must align with the vision of becoming a game-changer. Google is a game changer. Mark Zuckerberg has democratized communication and made our lives easier; and, thus, changed the way we communicate.

If you are a worker or an employee with low skills, it’s time to look for ways to train to upgrade your skill set. Sooner than later, unproductive jobs will be eliminated to give way to higher efficiencies in order to up the ante in productivity – and wealth. Eat people – that is what this book suggests. It means eliminating unproductive jobs – those that don’t contribute in creating the wealth.

This book has laid out the two types of job. Not Blue Collar and White Collar, as you might think. Creator and Server. There is more productivity coming from the creator than from the server. There is a great demand for productivity; hence, there’s also a great demand for the creator. The formula necessitates “wasting” on the other side of the plank – more and more servers must be eliminated to make productivity cheaper.

If you are just starting out on your career, entry to middle level, you have to read this book. This book fits best the entrepreneurs and startups. If you’re not in those group, there still a lot in store for you in this book.

Your job is in danger of being eliminated and you must be concerned about it.

Book Review: Evil Plans – Having Fun On The Road To World Domination

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
Follow me on twitter.

Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN. Everybody needs that crazy, out-there idea that allows them to ACTUALLY start doing something they love, doing something that matters.

Hugh MacLeod


Having Fun On The Road To World Domination

Photo Courtesy Of

This dude had an evil plan. Not the type that would do harm to others, of course. The plan that he had was to dominate the world. How did he get started with this venture? The plan was simple: get ten thousand people every year to buy his stuff on the internet.

And so was born.

You probably heard about “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards”. Next to that phrase would be Hugh MacLeod‘s name, cartoonist and pundit. A decade ago he’s stuck in the rut doing advertising and marketing stuff. But circumstances made him realize he had this crazy calling to dominate the world by drawing cartoons on the back of business cards – an art he has been devotedly practicing everyday. Dominate the world –  And, yes, he succeeded with flying colors.

That success can be duplicated. Evil Plans: Having Fun On The Road To World Domination will show you how to succeed in your own unique version of world domination.

This book is all about finding the work that you truly love. It’s about bringing together the work that you do with what you love to do. And vice versa. Work becomes a rat race if you stop enjoying it. This book targets those that are entrepreneurial in nature, specially those wanting to escape the cubicle.

There are many mentions in this book about “quitting the rat race”, being “stuck in the rut”, being “tired of the 9-5 job”, and “escaping the cubicle”. There’s large amount of overtone to those tunes. Hugh spoke about “getting off the treadmill in the corporate glass box in the big city” but I don’t think that he wants us to hate the corporate world, or that corporate glass box for that matter. He basically desires others “to find their own way to unify what they do for a living with whatever they truly love.”

This book targets those that are entrepreneurial in nature, specially those wanting to escape the cubicle.

Hugh’s cartoons are full of wisdom, sound career advice, and solid wit. This book is wrapped with the same traits.  It contains the blueprint of his success in world domination, a pattern that we all can follow, a simple how-to tool that we can adopt to devise our own evil plans.

An evil plan is something that inspires us to “make a good living doing what we love, doing something that matters, becoming the person we were born to be despite the odds.” This is the Hunger waiting to be discovered in our inner being. It’s time to set it free!

Where do you start?

“Whatever you’re selling isn’t merely a product or service, it’s also a product of a belief system – your own belief system.” This is one of the first lessons you have to learn in attempting to dominate the world. You have to know your belief system. And by knowing, you’ll understand what you truly stand for. This will be the basis of your evil plans.

These are few of the things you need to get started:

Personal Global Microbrand

Hugh believes that “a blog is a great way to build one’s own personal Global Microbrand.” This is something I also said before – you need a blog to build your personal brand. If you know nothing about world domination, “a blog is a good place to start.”


Avoid any complication. Whatever platform you decide to launch your world domination on, just keep it simple. “Aspire to have a business model that is simple, elegant, profitable and low-key.”

Continuity is Key

Whatever plans you have, you must have an ample discipline to follow them. Persistence and consistency are the two most needed characteristics to have if you want to succeed in world domination.


Review Summary

Although this book promotes life outside the rat race, it is not meant to discourage you out of that 9-5 job or to encourage you to begin designing your escape route from your cubicle. It’s about unifying love and work.

But if you sense a hunger deep inside you, you have the option to heed the call.

Hungry for world domination?



Upgrading Your Pocket Moleskine With A Pen Holder

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
Follow me on twitter.

The Moleskine Notebook is arguably the most popular notebook in the world today. It boasts of a rich history highlighted by its being a notebook of choice by Ernest Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh, and many other key figures.

The overall quality of the Moleskine notebook is more superior by far than its closest  competitors. It dominates the market and will continue to do so in the coming years to come.

Although it is arguably the best notebook in its class, it would still be useless without its essential partner – the writing instrument like a pen or pencil. And this is where the “shortcoming” of the notebook becomes apparent – the lack of a pen holder.

The Best Quiver Moleskine Pen Holder

Quiver – Quality Moleskine Pen Holder

Quiver - Elegant Leather Moleskine Pen HolderThere are only few companies that cater to this particular need of Moleskine pen holders. Quiver is simply one of the best, if not the best, Moleskine pen holder makers out there. Quiver offers two choices: 1-Pen Holder and 2-Pen Holder. They are made of quality fine leathers to last as long as the memories inscribed in those pages for all eternity.


Quiver – Design Considerations

Quality Quiver Moleskine 2-pen holderThe Quiver pen holders are designed with two different shaped openings on either end to address different pen styles. According to Quiver, they ” investigated a large number of pen styles and found some pens are the type with the push button on top of the pen and thus tend to protrude high above the clip so they designed one end of the Quiver pen holder with a lower opening; so with the pen clipped into the Quiver the pen tops won’t protrude above the edge of your notebook.” This design consideration also helps when you have a pen with a long body.

To address another pen style such as the ones with twist-to-extend pen tips, Quiver “designed the other end of the opening to be cut with a much less dropped opening so that once these pens are clipped into the Quiver the bottoms of these pens also won’t extend below the edge of the notebook.”

Snug Fit Quiver Moleskine Pen HolderThe 1-pen Quivers “all have a similar design openings for the same reason so that a very large variety of pen styles will work and look good in the Quiver pen holders.” Both the Quiver 1-pen and 2-pen holders “employ the use of elastic to fit snuggly and securely against the notebook covers; and, to ensure that the notebooks close flat once the pen holder is installed, they ‘skive’ the leather where the elastic is sewn on to remove some of the bulk of the material.”

Highly Recommended Moleskine Pen Holder

If you are looking for a quality and elegant leather pen holder for your Moleskine notebook, take a look first at Quiver Pen Holders before you go anywhere else. This is definitely a Moleskine pen holder that I’d recommend to friends. And just in case you want to know, Quiver ships to eight 27 countries and three 5 continents.

How To Effectively Manage Your Priorities – Part II

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
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[Author’s Note: This is the last part of a two-part series on “How To Effectively Manage Your Priorities” and a quick Review of Field Notes Notebook]

In the first part of this series, we’ve discussed about an effective method of setting your task priorities. Separating your tasks according to the level of concern associated with them can greatly help you focus your attention to the right priorities at any given time. And, by having a clear overview of your tasks in their appropriate category, you can easily determine which tasks need what resources. Knowing the right tools to use and the amount of resources needed beforehand can mitigate your job by a large percentage.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

But How To Apply This Method?

Before we proceed further, let me stop referring to this method as “this method”. Let’s give this priority system a name: Concern Based Prioritizing Method.

The traditional ToDo List or Next Action List may not be the suitable tool to use with our Concern Based Prioritizing Method. I’ve mentioned about the problems with the traditional ToDo List in a previous post. In the traditional ToDo List, categorizing your tasks will force you to move your tasks around from time to time as your priorities may shift from one category to another depending upon the demand of your work at that particular day.

Using the “context tag” of a digital version of task management, such as Nirvana, may not be effective either. There must a better way of applying our Concern Based Prioritizing Method in a digital way; but I’ve come up with a offline system that is both simple and intuitive. Yes, it’s paper-based system adapted from the popular Hipster PDA.

Hipster PDA Using Field Notes Notebook

Prioritizing Method With Field NotesHipster PDA is a popular GTD tool hack. I just love how describe this simple tool: “It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and “beaming,” and is configurable to an unlimited number of options.” Let me explain why I prefer an analog tool over a digital one this time. We’ve encountered a system downtime recently at the office because of a county-wide power outage. My tasks lists were of no use because most of them are online (my work task list are on the in-house system, my personal task lists are hosted online). With no current to power the computers, there was not much that I can do except to make the necessary phone calls. I’ve learned a very important lesson there: Papers will not go away in the near future. The old-school paper-based todo list will always have its room for any productivity system despite the advancement of the digital technology.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

What We Need:

  • 3 Field Notes Brand Notebook – which you can purchase from
  • 1 Field Notes Brand “General-Purpose Band of Rubber” or any ordinary rubber band to tie the 3 notebooks together when not in use.
  • 3 Message Binder Clips (with the appropriate labels – Urgent, Important, and Can Wait)

How To Assemble:

Perhaps no step-by-step instruction is needed here. I bought the 3 binder clips with the exact messages I need for this GTD tool hack from Walmart. Just in case you’re wondering, this is how the tool looks like after assembling the materials:

Field Notes Brand Notebook GTD System

Why I Use Field Notes Brand Notebook

Field Notes is one of the brands of notebook that I use. I am a big fan of Field Notes. Its 5½ x 3½ inches, 48-page size makes it convenient to carry around in either my back pocket or backpack. I prefer the Graph Field Notes because I can easily draw check-boxes on them, which are just perfect for ToDo or Next Action Lists. The 3 staples that hold the paper look sturdy enough to withstand daily use and the constant shoving in the back pocket. I am using a Sharpie pen to write on the pages and the ink doesn’t bleed through on the back page. This is important because I am using the front and back page.

For the notebook fanatics, here are some specifications:

  • Soft Cover – French Dur-O-Tone 80#C “Packing Brown Wrap,” with a thick, brute force, 1-Color application of “Dachshund Note” black Toyo ink.
  • Pages / Innards – Boise Offset Smooth 50#T “White”, with a fine, soy-based, 1-Color application of “Double Knee Duck Canvas” light brown Toyo ink.
  • Graph Grid – 3/16″ x 2/16″ (4.5mm by 4.5mm)

This pocket-sized notebook is really elegant that is why I prefer using it for my Concern Based Prioritizing Method over the ordinary 3×5 index cards. My ToDo Lists may be ordinary scribbles of the next actions necessary to get things done but they deserve to be written on something elegant. I always carry this “system” with me knowing that I can never rely on digital devices. Field Notes’ slogan is just right for me: “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I am writing it down to remember now.”

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

If you really want to dig deeper into why I keep a pocket notebook and what it is all about, there is a real tradition behind it (great post from the “Art of Manliness”).

Of course there are other practical application for Field Notes Brand  Notebook, according to the notebook’s back page:

  • Inspired Ramblings
  • Crop Predictions
  • Half-Ass Calculations
  • Big Ideas / Insights
  • Hate Mail
  • Poignant Quotes
  • etc.

3 States of Simple Productivity: Assess, Decide, and Do

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
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[This is a review of the ebook, “Assess-Decide-Do: Natural Productivity” published by Dragos Roua]

Assess-Decide-Do: Simple Productivity Book ReviewIntermittent focus is a major productivity assassin. Our inability to devote our focus on one thing, and only one thing, at any given time brings difficulty to how we implement any system that we choose. This is the reason why we should set goals and commit to attain them.

Attainment of such goals are not easy without the guidance of a definite core system that you can rely on. Putting this system to work to achieve the milestones that you set is a process we call “Life Management”, which is, according to the definition of Dragos Roua, “the process of consciously living your life.”

Life Management is the process of consciously living your life.

Dragos Roua in “Assess-Decide-Do: Simple Productivity”

I’ll present a partial overview of the book. I’ll try to refrain from giving more details than what’s allowed. I don’t want to spoil the excitement because I believe that you must buy the book. I guarantee that you’d never read anything like it before.

Purpose of the Book

The purpose of the book was clearly stated in the first chapter: “Describe a framework for life management.

The Framework

The book proposes a framework that consists 3 primary states or realms (plus 2 other components, Focus and Flow)- Assess, Decide, and Do. The author observes that “most of our failures in life management are forms of a focus imbalance. ” And these failures are rooted in being not able to “calibrate” our focus in any of these elements which the author calls “states” or ” realms” (as conditions or modes of being). Mixing these states can also cause such failures.

The Flow of “Assess, Decide, and Do” States

The success of this framework is determined by the orderly, systematic flow of the three states or realms. Their linear constant flow and the smooth transition from one state to another keep the framework solid and yet flexible. The key to this framework is focusing on one state at a time.

3 States/Realms + 2 Components = The “ADD” Framework

Aside from the three states or realms of the ADD framework, there are two other critical components that complement those states or realms – Focus and Flow. Focus is what puts you in each realm and the tool by which you experience that realm. Flow is a state of congruence both in performing in that realm and in switching from one realm to another.

Focus and Flow, in the context of the ADD Framework, are the continuum that brings the three states or realms together in a linear reality and orderly fashion to keep all the elements involved (tasks, projects, goals, processes, environment, etc) in constant harmony.

Well, to fully understand the book better, make sure to get yourself familiarize with the writing style of the author as he tends to play with words a lot.

Let’s Take a Look at the Three Realms

“Assess ” State - This is the reflective or analytic state of being. This is where “collecting of data from internal reality and external circumstances” is happening. This is also the state where you do your evaluation of “where you are in terms of alignment with your desired outcome.”

“Decide” State – This is the projective state of being. This is where you “make projections of what you want to do next”.

“Do” State – This is the creative state of being. This state is the culmination of the Assess and Decide states. In this state, you put into reality the end-product that came about in the Assess-Decide continuum.

Why I Recommend This Book

I recommend this book for the following reasons:

  1. I’ve been a fan of philosophy and a bigger fan of home-made philosophy (Hint: Philosophy was one of my majors in college).
  2. I put my trust in a system when that system is built upon a solid framework that delivers results that have been proven before.
  3. I like that the framework proposed in this book is flexible enough that it can be integrated to any work style that anyone prefers.
  4. I like the fact that the principles I learned in this book do not only apply to work in general but also to any other aspects of life.
  5. And lastly, because the framework is flexible, I can further customize the underlying system to fit my own system and can improve and add features to it as I see fit.

I Want The Book Now, Where Can I Get It?

Simply click my affiliate link, here: Get The Assess-Decide-Do: Natural Productivity, or just click the picture below:

Assess-Decide-Do: Simple Productivity A Review

Assess-Decide-Do: Simple Productivity. Get the eBook Now!

The Nirvana Of Task Management

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
Follow me on twitter.

The Getting Things Done system (GTD) is undoubtedly one of the best productivity systems out there. It is widely adopted in many workplaces around the world. In fact the GTD book is translated into more than two dozens languages. The GTD System has helped millions of knowledge workers get through their workdays stress-free and more effective.

The most critical portion of the GTD system, arguably, is the capturing portion – getting things out of your head. To effectively capture your stuff and efficiently manage your tasks, you need a tool that will allow you to easily handle the process of capturing the things you need to do.

I have mentioned in “Less Is More When It Comes To Productivity Tools” that a task management tool should have these characteristics:

  • Our tool should be simple enough to deploy so as to eliminate any unnecessary overhead
  • It should be appropriate to the system we’re using, and
  • It must be effective in helping us produce the desired results

Additionally, in “How To Effectively Manage Your To-Do List“, I also mentioned that your task management should allow batching your tasks into Projects, categorizing by Contexts, and letting you get an overview of all your current tasks. In other words, an effective tool is one that involves less time in managing the tool and save you time that you can allocate to actually doing your tasks.

Nirvana Task Management Tool - Less Time Managing, More Time DoingThis is what the Nirvana tool is all about - less time in managing, more time doing. “Nirvana is all about getting things out of your head and into a trusted system, then effortlessly drilling down to the thing you should be doing right now.”

It has the following features:

Schedule Tasks – Automatically pops to-dos in your Today List.

Organize Tasks By Project – Organize and sort tasks within a project.

Context and Tagging – Tag tasks with your context in GTD style.

Email Ticklers – Receive daily ticklers or reminders of the things you need to do per your schedule.

Quick Search – You can search tags, notes, tasks and projects.

Archive or Trash – If you cannot trash a task for some reasons, you have the option to archive it. The archive is a useful feature if you’re keeping track of your tasks for a monthly review.

Waiting For – Of course Nirvana isn’t  a complete GTD system without this feature.

Email Your Tasks to Your Nirvana Inbox – You’re on the move? Just Send your tasks via email and that goes straight to your Nirvana Inbox.

Export On Demand – Moving your system to another system? You can keep everything with you by asking Nirvana to send you all your data. Cool!

I highly recommend this tool! This is one of the few applications that fully incorporates the GTD concept in its entirety. Have you used this tool yet?

How To Effectively Manage Your To-Do List

Post written by Marlon Ribunal.
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The Next-Action Lists, along with the calendar, are at the heart of daily action-management organization.

-David Allen in Getting Things Done

David Allen’s Getting Things Done System points out that the “daily to-do lists don’t work” because of two reasons. One is the constant input of new tasks and shifting of their priorities. This makes your game plan difficult to follow.  Another reason is that you water down the emphasis on the unfinished tasks that need to be re-listed for the next day because those have to compete with the new priorities. If you’ve been wondering why your keeping a daily to-do list doesn’t seem to be of any help, you now know why.

The traditional to-do list can become an excess baggage in your productivity system. You have to capture your to-do tasks in such a way that your daily goals are aligned with your priorities. The traditional to-do list that itemizes tasks according to priority, with the one on top having the highest priority, only shows you the order of your priorities but does not necessarily emphasize the weight of each priority.

SimpleGTD: Uber simple, GTD-style todo list organizerThere are two things that you can do to make your to-do list an effective tool of productivity: Contextualize and bundle the tasks into Projects. The context, according to the GTD system simply gives you the idea of “what could you possibly do, where you are, with the tools you have“; and a project is “any desired result that requires more than one action step.” If you think about it, the tasks you do are really parts of particular projects. Managing your tasks under these two elements become easy with the use of the online tool called Simple GTD.

Create The List Of Your Projects

List Your ProjectsIn reality you only have projects and not “tasks” which are the bits that make up a particular project. Making your project list in SimpleGTD is easy. Remember that a “project” is simply any desired outcome that involves more than one task. You could consider a simple Monthly Report as a project because it involves multiple tasks such as asking your boss about the specification or parameters of the report, extraction of relevant data from the database, development of the actual report, and so on. Your projects can also serve as “tags” in your actions list.

Define The Context

Create Your ContextKnowing what tasks you have to do and how to do them makes those tasks half done. If you have defined your projects and carefully identified the needed tasks to accomplish them, the next thing that you do is to put those tasks in their proper contexts. The contexts tell you what resources you need and how to tackle the tasks to put your projects into completion. The contexts also help you to easily establish your priorities according to what needs to be done at the moment and what makes sense given your current situation.

List Tasks That Are Actionable

Your Task Must Describe An Actual ActionThe point of failure of any To-Do List is that the tasks are listed as “items” that don’t define actual actions. Your To-Do list must contain your Next Actions. By Next Action, we mean, according to Allen’s GTD book, “the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.” Your to-do item must, therefore, describe a particular action to do. So if we go back to our Monthly Report example, for the first task item to do you don’t write “Report Parameter” but “Ask boss about Report Parameter” which hints that you might also need to set a good time to sit with the boss and discuss about the parameters. That is the good thing about listing your tasks as actual actions; it exposes other related tasks that you might have missed in your assessment.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

Review Tasks And Prepare Ahead

SimpleGTD Done Actions as Weekly Review ToolAccording to Allen, “In order to trust the rapid and intuitive judgment calls that you make about actions from moment to moment, you must consistently retrench at some more elevated level.” He describe this as a “behavior” critical to success – Weekly Review. There are four main reasons why you need a Weekly Review according to Allen: Gather and process all your “stuff” or tasks, review your system, update your lists, and get clean, clear, current, and complete. SimpleGTD provides this function with its “Done Actions” list which makes it easy to review what you have accomplished so far at any given moment. If you review this and purge this list on a weekly basis, then you can have a powerful Weekly Review tool at the same time.

[ From Amazon: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours” ]

SimpleGTD In Action

If you have tried SimpleGTD or currently using it to manage your to-do list, please share your thoughts on the tool. How is it benefiting you so far. If you haven’t used it yet, do you think it can effectively manage your to-do list? Why or why not?